possible; the person who feels unable to cope with independent
survival must feel uneasy. Learning more about handling ordinary
problems for people like you provides a basis for greater happiness.
Self-help reading should help.
STEP THREE: Work on reducing the emotions, mostly sadness
and anger, that are incompatible with happiness.
Of the four major emotions, depression and anger are the most
inconsistent with happiness. They have to be kept at a fairly low level.
See chapters 6 and 7 for the steps to take. The other emotions are not
as crucial, i.e. we can be moderately stressed and still be happy; we
can be quite passive-dependent and be happy.
STEP FOUR: There needs to be some pleasures in every life.
The pleasures may be few and simple, but we need some. There
are an infinite number of options. Develop some, if you don't have
any. But, keep it perfectly clear in your mind that these pleasures are
not the source of happiness in your life. If a pleasure becomes
unavailable, you can find another.
STEP FIVE: Your life should have a purpose, it should have
important meaning to you.
As chapter 3 in the beginning of this book argues, we all need a
philosophy of life that we are proud of and willing to follow day by day.
That chapter will help you plan a more worthwhile life.
Finding happiness is a major undertaking taking many, many
hours, maybe years. The effort is truly unending, because most lives
experience a series of great losses which are not easily accepted, e.g.
death, failure, mental illness, etc.
My experience is that people resist the deterministic notion. The
American belief that there is a quick solution to every problem is very
strong. It transforms into the idea that we don't have to tolerate
anything we don't like, we can just get rid of the problem. Thus, the
idea that we should accept our circumstances-of-the-moment becomes
viewed as a weak, incompetent, fatalistic position. But the truth is that
many of life's downers are unavoidable--and irreversible once they
have happened. Sad events are inevitable. So, in these instances, we
have only two choices: accept it as lawful or hate what has happened.
In no way, should determinism lead to a fatalistic, pessimistic view of
Effectiveness, advantages and dangers